Discussion with Bloggers from The Buzz

Hi everyone! We’ve been talking about blogging this past week, so we’re really excited to have a number of the bloggers & photobloggers from The Buzz join us in class tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/6) for a discussion about their experiences blogging professionally for the OpenLab. We look forward to hearing in-person from Jean-Luc Antoine, Shawn Brumell, Amanda Marmol, Mandy Mei, Brianna Vasquez at the start of tomorrow’s class.

The folks from The Buzz will share a bit about their own blogs (how they shape the focus and personal voice of their blogs), their experiences working in the medium and with the OpenLab as a whole, how they work as a community of bloggers, how they raise interest/awareness about their work through commenting, social media, etc., how they feel this work experience is leading to their professionalization, and, of course, anything else they want to discuss 🙂

I know The Buzz bloggers who can’t be there in person due to other class or work commitments (Amoni Brown, Jessica Deng, Konyca Francis) would still like to take part in the conversation / share their insights, so I’ve created this “Class Discussion” here for them to provide their comments, and also for us to ask questions, and the other bloggers to share additional ideas, resources, links. Just comment on this post by clicking “Leave a reply” to get this virtual discussion started.

I look forward to the start of a rich & productive discussion (in class tomorrow and here on our OpenLab site). Thank you again to The Buzz bloggers for generously agreeing to come share your experiences with us.

The Drum: How Brands Can Participate in the Future of TV

Last Tuesday I had the honor of being invited by The Drum’s CEO, Gordon Young, to their seminar “How Brands Can Participate in the Future of TV” The UK based media house recently marked its territory in New York which proved it to be a force to be reckoned with. The Drum is a creative agency that provides first class news information on marketing across an array of communication fields including Public Relations, Social Media, Advertising just to name a few. The seminar was a thoughtful discussion about the advertising discourse community and how brands can participate within the ecosystem. The panel discussion brought together Jim Mollica, the Vice President of Digital Under Armour, Jessica Sheehan, VP and Head of Social Media for JPMorgan Chase, Chad Parizman, Director of Convergent Media at Scripps Networks Interactive and Marc DebEvoise, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Digital Media. As a first time attendee, I found the discussion to be surprisingly insightful.

I was so grateful to have had the opportunity to join the conversation of how TV Networks, new technologies, social media are reshaping brands relevancy in the digital age. Many brands who lack creativity and who do not adapt to the new expectations will become dinosaurs, and we are all too aware of what happened to dinosaurs (they’re dead)–spoiler alert!  As a composer of content, I realize how imperative it is to be creative, resourceful, tech savvy, to be able to create a holistic experience for the readers/consumers of digital media. People are consuming content differently, whether its through different mediums or mediated outlets such as smartphones or tablets. The way we digest information is changing and will continue to change and it is up to the writers to be well versed or risk being inept. Writers and marketers have to tap into the mobile audience and provide insight, catchy content that will be unique to the readers. When new technologies are created there are new communities that are created and deliver a new approach for those communities. With the affordances of new communities, it creates a change in how we package our content, how the consumer receives it, and how they participate in that discourse community.

In essence, the role of the composer in these digital spaces is extremely difficult. For the composer to be a part of the community, shaping the community, creating new experiences within the community is extremely challenging. The magnitude of the impact composers will have on their readers/consumers is one we all know too well and they have to wear many hats. . . So as a composer, please excuse me as I learn what other hat I need o wear.


Should Wikipedia encourage writing from an embodied position?

Gruwell argues that “Wikipedia’s insistence on separating embodied subjectivity from the production of knowledge limits the site’s ability to facilitate any substantial, subversive feminist rhetorical action” (Gruwell, 117).

Putting gender issues aside, I wonder what would happen if Wikipedia did encourage it’s contributors to include their personal experience. As an encyclopedia, I think it has to be neutral and should not be used to push personal agendas.  Afterall, it’s not personal.

Does anyone have any thoughts?

The confines of traditional journalism: how far can you push them?

“What happens to the traditional photojournalist in the new media landscape? “It could be a really negative thing,” Applewhite said. “News agencies are often happy with random snapshots from Egypt and they don’t necessarily need professional, thoughtful content all the time.” (“Photojournalism in the Age of New Media)

Throughout the article there are hints that new media is pushing the ethical boundaries of traditional journalism. Do you feel the introduction of participatory journalism is further pushing these boundaries?

Crowdsourcing Gruwell’s “Wikipedia’s Politics of Exclusion” article

Here, we’ll continue the discussion we began in class today about Gruwell’s recent article, “Wikipedia’s Politics of Exclusion: Gender, Epistemology, and Feminist Rhetoric (In)action.”

We did some freewriting already on what ways Wikipedia “privileges partriarchal methodologies and epistemologies” that are “exclusionary” and then considered in our class discussion how “Wikipedia functions as a rhetorical discourse community” (118).

This is a challenging article (on many levels), so let’s first tackle what the article is actually saying by crowdsourcing Gruwell’s main claims (thesis, points, evidence in support of those points) here. Then we can also unpack them, asking clarifying questions, complicating them, challenging then with provocations and counter-arguments, etc.

Don’t forget to include citations in MLA format when you refer to the text.

To code or not code?: That is the question

We should consider ourselves architects of spaces and places, and authors and guides for interactors navigating through these often networked, socially mediated spaces (Carroll 31).

We have been discussing all semester the mediated, interactive, networked, multimodal nature of new media composing. However, it is often easy to forget about some crucial aspects of how digital (new media) texts are actually composed, what kind of “behind-the-scenes” stuff needs to happen for us, as “architects of spaces and places” in the digital world actually can build things.

A number of our readings have mentioned the importance of having a working knowledge of coding (as well as the workings of the web more generally), what it is as well as the basics of how to actually do it. Consider the following few excerpts:

  • “He [Marc Prensky] further explained that the next language to be mastered is the language of programming” (Cohen & Kenny 6).
  • “We think the savvy user should have a working knowledge of how the web works and why. Understand the basic functions of the systems of participation will help you to speak the language and create on a higher cognitive level, enabling you to become a leader in the digital environment and make higher-quality work” (Cohen & Kenny 49).
  • “Although many web writers and editors aren’t asked to build websites from scratch, they should be aware of how web-authoring code works and how it makes digital content manifest in a browser window (Carroll 45).
  • “Web writers and editors do not necessarily need to become proficient in these web programming languages, nor do they necessarily need to know how to develop an app. But it certainly helps to be able to hand-code pages and to understand the capacities and limitations of these coding languages” (Carroll 45).

So, the major debate at stake here is: “to code or not code?” Some thoughts, to get the conversation rolling:

  • What, if any, is your knowledge of coding?
  • Do you have any experience coding? What are you feelings towards coding? (fear, annoyance, empowerment, etc.)
  • Do new media writers need to know how to code?
  • How has the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) nature of much of today’s digital platforms changing the need for (and our knowledge of) coding? Is coding necessary?
  • Do you feel that coding should be an integral part of the work you do as a student in the PTW major, and beyond in your career?
  • How/why is (or could) coding be useful in your professional life? What is to be gained by coding? (is anything lost by it?)

(friendly reminder: don’t forget to check out the purpose / expectations for this, and other Class Discussions, before you get started here)

Class Discussions

Throughout the semester, we will continue discussions we are having in class (or start new ones) on our OpenLab course site. There are low-stakes conversations, but crucial to our work together this semester (consistent, engaged participation in OpenLab Class Discussions is a significant component of your OpenLab Composing grade for the semester).

The goal is to participate early and often, to ensure good virtual discussions that will help you to think critically about the readings/ideas/projects of the course. Therefore, your comments need not be very long: for example, you can provide an idea, provocation (question meant to spark discussion/debate), provide quote/citation (MLA format) and a few sentences of explanation of how/why it functions in the context of some larger issue/question, raise questions, complicate issues, extend discussions, analyze a new media text, etc. You can also link to outside sources, broadening the scope of our conversation beyond the texts we are reading together, and strengthening your ability to find/analyze/synthesize various pieces of evidence in support of claims/arguments.

For each Class Discussion, you should provide initial responses (in the form of “comments”) as soon as possible, to get the conversation going, and then return to the Discussion to continue it, posting multiple comments, and also responding to others (not just to the initial prompt). If you’ve already discussed some of these instances in your previous blogs or in class, you should feel free to draw on that material. The Class Discussions will remain open through the semester, so you should feel free to continue the conversation even beyond the original week we are actively discussing it: your ideas will continue to grow/change as you do your work, so our Class Discussions remain an living archive/forum to return to, a space for us to work through this evolving knowledge of new media composing.

I also strongly encourage you to begin your own class discussions, when you come across something in the readings that you want to discuss further (perhaps something you don’t quite understand, or agree with), or something (such as an article, video, etc.) that you are connecting to the course and that you want to share with others. Anyone should feel free to start a Class Discussion post at any time (just categorize it as “Class Discussion”).

Digital Journalism Additional Comments

To further elaborate on a point already mentioned in our blogs, in the past, we as consumers would go to a credible source to get the news.  Now in this digital age, it seems to me that we don’t really think about who is reporting the news, only what it is.  Maybe, in the past, it was essential to know that established organizations like CNN or the New York Times was informing us on what was important, but this generation cares more about the content and not who produced it.  I believe that there is no more loyalty in newspaper branding and that we seem to care more about believability than credibility.   So we are left with faceless journalism that empowers us as individuals to customize our news or archaic reporting with limitations that cannot compete with digital journalism.